Bulletin N°404



11 April 2009
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Speaking of women (and by inference about all oppressed minorities), Jean-Paul Sartre once made the observation in an interview with Playboy magazine (May 1965) that those "feminine qualities" which were particular to most women would probably be lost if women ceased to be an oppressed group. He admitted that he had a special preference for women as friends in the same way that he especially liked many Jews, who had responded to anti-Semitism by developing a particular "gentleness and subtlety".
There are qualities in women that derive from the feminine predicament, from the fact that
she is both a slave and an accomplice. That's why her sensibility ranges so much wider
than a man's. . . . Like Simone de Beauvoir, I'm in favor of total feminine emancipation. But
when the day comes, of course, the special qualities of sensibility for which I prefer the
company of women will be due purely to chance; sometimes a woman will have them,
sometimes a man. They'll cease being a feminine prerogative. [Sartre, 1965; cited in Hazel Barnes,
An Existential Ethics (1967,1985), p.364.]

No more than we can justify the oppression of Blacks because of the quality of art they have produced as an expression of their sorrow and rebellion, can we justify the oppression of any group, no matter how exceptional their wide angle of vision and the deepness of their feelings. If the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant has been ejected from the Paradise of privilege, writes Barnes in her book on ethics, he may easily retreat into bad faith, finding unauthentic relationships that serve to confirm his literary fictions, but he will be used as an object as well by the imaginary other in this collusion. A person of good faith will grant the same range of choice to any formerly oppressed group --a woman, a Black , a Jew, etc.--  as he would to anyone else in matters of justice and opportunity.

We are in need of a science of human liberation.
The notion of "blowback," has been promoted recently in the writings of Chalmers Johnson, who borrows freely from Newton's Third Law of Motion: " for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." This 17th- century "scientific" view of social relationships stands to be corrected. While not entirely wrong, it is far from providing a complete explanation, and such half-truths can be entirely misleading, and as a gage in foreign policy, they can be downright disastrous. [For a positive critique of Newtonian physics, see Stanley Aronowitz, Science as Power (1988) and Ilya Prigogine, From Being to Becoming: Time and Complexity in the Physical Sciences (1981).

Another glaring error in social theory is repeated by William Blum in the April issue of his Anti-Empire Report, where he quotes Ralph Nader, saying: "Capitalism will never fail because socialism will always be there to bail it out."

Insights such as these --from the testicles of the monster, as it were-- represent a limited perspective, from a vantage point which is not entirely unobstructed. Another, more far-sighted view of our collective situation today was discussed last week in our American Studies cours alternatif at the University of Grenoble, where we spoke about the short documentary film we had just seen, Capitalism and other Kids' Stuff. This meeting on campus was attended by a couple of dozen undergraduate and graduate students, who discussed human relationships in capitalist societies --past, present, and future-- and how in part they are determined by the political economy of the moment --but only in part . . . !

Many of us have learned to think in terms of "self-interest" and "enlightened self-interest" and to identify what we think are historical lags between social relationships and economic and political interests, as if some people around us are dancing to past tunes while contemporary music plays from the bandstand. We need only to look around us to see evidence of the slave/master relationship still among us and the remnants of aristocratic "first rights" acting out phantasies in contemporary capitalist society. There exists, of course, a significant democratic urge within modern capitalist society, and this population cannot be ignored if social class relationships are to be maintained. The most sophisticated measurers are employed to control these "subversive" tendencies and to dispatch people to their "proper places".

If we were to adopt the theory of historical materialism and employ the method of dialectical materialism to understand the full meaning of our present situation, emphasis would have to be placed on the "unfinished" aspect of the capitalist revolution. The full democratization of society and of all its institutions is not yet achieved. Rather than identifying a "capitalist-socialist conspiracy" as some kind of perpetual motion machine, stabilizing  private ownership of profits in times of crisis, a less mechanical view might identify democratic socialism as nothing less than the fulfillment of the potential created by transitory capitalist relationships --when "profits" would no longer exist as a private domain, but instead would actually profit everyone, and when fundamental contradictions would be resolved and most serious oppositions thereby dissolved.

On the other hand, if we remain bound to 17th-century theories of mechanical physics and fail to see the error of automatic applications of Newtonian physics in social science with such concepts as "blowback" and "cybernetics", we risk missing opportunities to improve our collective lives. The inescapable fact is that wars are fought when it is profitable and are not fought when it is not. A corollary to this diplomacy/war oscillation is the fact that those who profit from war do not pay the price for war. The incentive of capital is to continue warfare; our incentive is to end it.

In place of Chalmers Johnson's concept of  "blowback" and instead of Nader's vision of a "socialist conspiracy" to save capitalism from collapse and from rebellious elements of the population, I see a mutiny developing --but what reason to take control of the boat, if you don't really know where you want to go? We need a new science and new instruments to enable us to participate consciously in the process of positive social change, a change that would reflect the full spectrum of our human potential --including our desires, our creativity, and our environmental needs-- so that each of us may flourish with greater self-fulfillment in the future, but there is no teleological trajectory carrying us to that place. [For a discussion of "complexity theory," see CEIMSA Bulletin # 357 (11 June 2008).]

Meanwhile, the 9 items below received by CEIMSA this past week reflect the prosaic social context of the murderous, Machiavellian machinations of empire-building of the 21st Century.

Item A. is an article by former Wall Street economist Michael Hudson, first published in Counter Punch, on the financial politics of American military expansionism.

Item B.  is an article from Information Clearing House by Bob Kendall, giving his description of "the state of the Union," first published on Political Cortex.

Item C. is a Democracy Now ! broadcast on the tent cities now mushrooming across the North American landscape.

Item D. is a video interview by Real News founder Paul Jay with F. William Engldahl on the strategies of the "U.S. oligarchy" (à la 21st-century Russian model).

Item E. is the GRITtv coverage of the state of womanhood in 2009, with the broadcast of "Sexual Politics and the Media."

Item F., sent to us by Professor Elisabeth Chamorand, is an article critical of the role religious thought plays in the lives of most women today.

Item G., sent to us by VoltaireNet, is a statement by veteran diplomat Charles Freedman on why he withdrew his candidacy for the position of top U.S. intelligence analyst after a concerted campaign of character assassination by the Israel Lobby in Washington, D. C.

Item H. is from Grenoble undergraduate student, Mélisa Kidari, who asked to share with us what she considers a very important documentary film on the political repression of Alternative Scientific Research in the field of medicine.

Item I. is video of a conference by neuro-anatomiste Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor (with French subtitles): a personal testimony on the function of the human brain, entitled "My Stroke of Insight" (Voyage au-delà de mon cerveau). [For more discussions on "split brain" theory, see early CEIMSA publications.]

We invite our readers to visit the YouTube production of video film of our Cours Alternatifs dans des trams de Grenoble, 4 and 18 March 2009 :


And finally, we offer CEIMSA readers a poetry reading by Remi Kanazi, the editor of Poets for Palestine, about what some have described as the poet's response to "the second Guernica, 2009: another preamble to a surge of Fascist military expansion of economic interests?"

Guernica - 1937

Remi Kanazi, the editor of Poets for Palestine and the founder of the web site Poetic Injustice performs his new poem Co-Existence.  I don't want to co-exist/I want to exist as a human being/and justice will take care of the rest.

Remi Kanazi: Co-Existence

Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3

from Counter Punch :
Date: 30 March 2009
Subject: Confronting the U.S. Dollar.

Financing the Empire
Does US Face G20 Mutiny?
by Michael Hudson

I am travelling in Europe for three weeks to discuss the global financial crisis with government officials, politicians and labor leaders. What is most remarkable is how differently the financial problem is perceived over here. It’s like being in another economic universe, not just another continent.

The U.S. media are silent about the most important topic policy makers are discussing here (and I suspect in Asia too): how to protect their countries from three inter-related dynamics:

(1) the surplus dollars pouring into the rest of the world for yet further financial speculation and corporate takeovers;
(2) the fact that central banks are obliged to recycle these dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the federal U.S. budget deficit; and most important (but most suppressed in the U.S. media,
(3) the military character of the U.S. payments deficit and the domestic federal budget deficit.

Strange as it may seem – and irrational as it would be in a more logical system of world diplomacy – the “dollar glut” is what finances America’s global military build-up. It forces foreign central banks to bear the costs of America’s expanding military empire – effective “taxation without representation.” Keeping international reserves in “dollars” means recycling their dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bills – U.S. government debt issued largely to finance the military.

To date, countries have been as powerless to defend themselves against the fact that this compulsory financing of U.S. military spending is built into the global financial system. Neoliberal economists applaud this as “equilibrium,” as if it is part of economic nature and “free markets” rather than bare-knuckle diplomacy wielded with increasing aggressiveness by U.S. officials. The mass media chime in, pretending that recycling the dollar glut to finance U.S. military spending is “showing their faith in U.S. economic strength” by sending “their” dollars here to “invest.” It is as if a choice is involved, not financial and diplomatic compulsion to choose merely between “Yes” (from China, reluctantly), “Yes, please” (from Japan and the European Union) and “Yes, thank you” (Britain, Georgia and Australia).

It is not “foreign faith in the U.S. economy” that leads foreigners to “put their money here.” That’s a silly cartoon of a more sinister dynamic. The “foreigners” in question are not consumers buying U.S. exports, nor are they private-sector “investors” buying U.S. stocks and bonds. The largest and most important foreign entities putting “their money” here are central banks, and it is not “their money” at all. They are sending back the dollars that foreign exporters and other recipients turn over to their central banks for domestic currency.

When the U.S. payments deficit pumps dollars into foreign economies, these banks are being given little option except to buy U.S. Treasury bills and bonds – which the Treasury spends on financing an enormous, hostile military build-up to encircle the major dollar-recyclers – China, Japan and Arab OPEC oil producers. Yet these governments are forced to recycle dollar inflows in a way that funds U.S. military policies in which they have no say in formulating, and which threaten them more and more belligerently. That is why China and Russia took the lead in forming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) a few years ago.

Here in Europe there is a clear awareness that the U.S. payments deficit is much larger than just the trade deficit. One need merely look at Table 5 of the U.S. balance-of-payments data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and published by the Dept. of Commerce in its Survey of Current Business to see that the deficit does not stem merely from consumers buying more imports than the United States exports as the financial sector de-industrializes its economy. U.S. imports are now plunging as the economy shrinks and consumers are now finding themselves obliged to pay down the debts they have taken on.

Congress has told foreign investors in the largest dollar holder, China, not to buy anything except perhaps used-car dealerships and maybe more packaged mortgages and Fannie Mae stock – the equivalent of Japanese investors being steered into spending $1 billion for Rockefeller Center, on which they subsequently took a 100 per cent loss, and Saudi investment in Citigroup. That’s the kind of “international equilibrium” that U.S. officials love to see. “CNOOK go home” is the motto when it comes to serious attempts by foreign governments and their sovereign wealth funds (central bank departments trying to figure out what to do with their dollar glut) to make direct investments in American industry.

So we are left with the extent to which the U.S. payments deficit stems from military spending. The problem is not only the war in Iraq, now being extended to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is the expensive build-up of U.S. military bases in Asian, European, post-Soviet and Third World countries. The Obama administration has promised to make the actual amount of this military spending more transparent. That presumably means publishing a revised set of balance of payments figures as well as domestic federal budget statistics.

The military overhead is much like a debt overhead, extracting revenue from the economy. In this case it is to pay the military-industrial complex, not merely Wall Street banks and other financial institutions. The domestic federal budget deficit does not stem only from “priming the pump” to give away enormous sums to create a new financial oligarchy. It contains an enormous and rapidly growing military component.

So Europeans and Asians see U.S. companies pumping more and more dollars into their economies. Not just to buy their exports in excess of providing them with goods and services in return; not just  to buy their companies and “commanding heights” of privatized public enterprises without giving them reciprocal rights to buy important U.S. companies (remember the U.S. turn-down of China’s attempt to buy into the U.S. oil distribution business);  not just to buy foreign stocks, bonds and real estate. The U.S. media somehow neglect to mention that the U.S. government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars abroad – not only in the Near East for direct combat, but to build enormous military bases to encircle the rest of the world, to install radar systems, guided missile systems and other forms of military coercion, including the “color revolutions” that have been funded – and are still being funded – all around the former Soviet Union.

 Pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills adding up to tens of millions of the dollars at a time have become familiar “visuals” on some TV broadcasts, but the link is not made with U.S. military and diplomatic spending and foreign central-bank dollar holdings, which are reported simply as “wonderful faith in the U.S. economic recovery” and presumably the “monetary magic” being worked by Wall Street’s Tim Geithner at Treasury and Helicopter Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve.

Here’s the problem: The Coca Cola company recently tried to buy China’s largest fruit-juice producer and distributor. China already holds nearly $2 trillion in U.S. securities – way more than it needs or can use, inasmuch as the United States government refuses to let it buy meaningful U.S. companies. If the U.S. buyout would have been permitted to go through, this would have confronted China with a dilemma: Choice #1 would be to let the sale go through and accept payment in dollars, reinvesting them in what the U.S. Treasury tells it to do – U.S. Treasury bonds yielding about 1 per cent. China would take a capital loss on these when U.S. interest rates rise or when the dollar declines as the United States alone is pursuing expansionary Keynesian policies in an attempt to enable the U.S. economy to carry its debt overhead.

Choice #2 is not to recycle the dollar inflows. This would lead the renminbi to rise against the dollar, thereby eroding China’s export competitiveness in world markets. So China chose a third way, which brought U.S. protests. It turned the sale of its tangible company for merely “paper” U.S. dollars – which went with the “choice” to fund further U.S. military encirclement of the Shanghai Cooperative Agreement.  The only people who seem not to be drawing this connection are the American mass media, and hence public. I can assure you from personal experience, it is being drawn here in Europe. (Here’s a good diplomatic question to discuss: Which will be the first European country besides Russia to join the S.C.O.?)

Academic textbooks have nothing to say about how “equilibrium” in foreign capital movements – speculative as well as for direct investment – is infinite as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. The U.S. economy can create dollars freely, now that they no longer are convertible into gold or even into purchases of U.S. companies, inasmuch as America remains the world’s most protected economy. It alone is permitted to protect its agriculture by import quotas, having “grandfathered” these into world trade rules half a century ago. Congress refuses to let “sovereign wealth” funds invest in important U.S. sectors.

So we are confronted with the fact that the U.S. Treasury prefers foreign central banks to keep on funding its domestic budget deficit, which means financing the cost of America’s war in the Near East and encirclement of foreign countries with rings of military bases. The more “capital outflows” U.S. investors spend to buy up foreign economies –the most profitable sectors, where the new U.S. owners can extract the highest monopoly rents – the more funds end up in foreign central banks to support America’s global military build-up. No textbook on political theory or international relations has suggested axioms to explain how nations act in a way so adverse to their own political, military and economic interests. Yet this is just what has been happening for the past generation.

So the ultimate question turns out to be what countries can do to counter this financial attack. A Basque labor union asked me whether I thought that controlling speculative capital movements would ensure that the financial system would act in the public interest. Or is outright nationalization necessary to better develop the real economy?

It is not simply a problem of “regulation” or “control of speculative capital movements.” The question is how nations can act as real nations, in their own interest rather than being roped into serving whatever the  American government  decides is in America’s interest.

Any country trying to do what the United States has done for the past 150 years is accused of being “socialist” – and this from the most anti-socialist economy in the world, except when it calls bailouts for its banks “socialism for the rich,” a.k.a. financial oligarchy. This rhetorical inflation almost leaves no alternative but outright nationalization of credit as a basic public utility.

Of course, the word “nationalization” has become a synonym for bailing out the largest and most reckless banks from their bad loans, and bailing out hedge funds and non-bank counterparties for losses on “casino capitalism,” gambling on derivatives that AIG and other insurers or players on the losing side of these gambles are unable to pay.  Bailout in this form is not nationalization in the traditional sense of the term – bringing credit creation and other basic financial functions back into the public domain. It is the opposite. It prints new government bonds to turn over – along with self-regulatory power – to the financial sector, blocking the citizenry from taking back these functions.

Framing the issue as a choice between democracy and oligarchy turns the question into one of who will control the government doing the regulation and “nationalizing.” If it is done by a government whose central bank and major congressional committees dealing with finance are run by Wall Street, this will not help steer credit into productive uses. It will merely continue the Greenspan-Paulson-Geithner era of more and larger free lunches for their financial constituencies.

The financial oligarchy’s idea of “regulation” is to make sure that deregulators are installed in the key positions and given only a minimal skeleton staff and little funding. Despite Alan Greenspan’s announcement that he has come to see the light and realizes that self-regulation doesn’t work, the Treasury is still run by a Wall Street official and the Fed is run by a lobbyist for Wall Street. To lobbyists the real concern isn’t ideology as such – it’s naked self-interest for their clients. They may seek out well-meaning fools, especially prestigious figures from academia. But these are only front men, headed as they are by the followers of Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago. Such individuals are put in place as “gate-keepers” of the major academic journals to keep out ideas that do not well serve the financial lobbyists.

This pretence for excluding government from meaningful regulation is that finance is so technical that only someone from the financial “industry” is capable of regulating it. To add insult to injury, the additional counter-intuitive claim is made that a hallmark of democracy is to make the central bank “independent” of elected government. In reality, of course, that is just the opposite of democracy. Finance is the crux of the economic system. If it is not regulated democratically in the public interest, then it is “free” to be captured by special interests. So this becomes the oligarchic definition of “market freedom.”

The danger is that governments will let the financial sector determine how “regulation” will be applied. Special interests seek to make money from the economy, and the financial sector does this in an extractive way. That is its marketing plan. Finance today is acting in a way that de-industrializes economies, not builds them up. The “plan” is austerity for labor, industry and all sectors outside of finance, as in the IMF programs imposed on hapless Third World debtor countries. The experience of Iceland, Latvia and other “financialized” economies should be examined as object lessons, if only because they top the World Bank’s ranking of countries in terms of the “ease of doing business.”

The only meaningful regulation can come from outside the financial sector. Otherwise, countries will suffer what the Japanese call “descent from heaven”: regulators are selected from the ranks of bankers and their “useful idiots.” Upon retiring from government they return to the financial sector to receive lucrative jobs, “speaking engagements” and kindred paybacks. Knowing this, they regulate in favor of financial special interests, not that of the public at large.

The problem of speculative capital movements goes beyond drawing up a set of specific regulations. It concerns the scope of national government power. The International Monetary Fund’s Articles of Agreement prevent countries from restoring the “dual exchange rate” systems that many retained down through the 1950s and even into the ‘60s. It was widespread practice for countries to have one exchange rate for goods and services (sometimes various exchange rates for different import and export categories) and another for “capital movements.” Under American pressure, the IMF enforced the pretence that there is an “equilibrium” rate that just happens to be the same for goods and services as it is for capital movements. Governments that did not buy into this ideology were excluded from membership in the IMF and World Bank – or were overthrown.

The implication today is that the only way a nation can block capital movements is to withdraw from the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). For the first time since the 1950s this looks like a real possibility, thanks to worldwide awareness of how the U.S. economy is glutting the global economy with surplus “paper” dollars – and U.S. intransigence at stopping its free ride. From the U.S. vantage point, this is nothing less than an attempt to curtail its international military program.

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) He can be at: mh@michael-hudson.com

from Information Clearing House :
Date: 24 March 2009
Subject: The imminent debacle of the USA ?

Is the U.S.A. the World's Greatest Nation Now?
by Bob Kendall

The intense anger and rage lingers that George W. Bush generated with the false claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction threatening the U.S.A. Adding to his State of the Union fright scenario was Bush's false claim that Saddam Hussein was well on the road to developing nuclear power. This false proclamation hastily launched the Iraq War.

If the claim of ex-fed chief Alan Greenspan in his book "Age of Turbulence" that "The Iraq war was largely about Oil" is accurate, we must objectively analyze the cost of Iraq oil acquisition.

Was Iraq oil acquisition worth the tragic loss of 4,242, U.S. service personnel whose flag-draped coffins coming back to the U.S.A. were barred by the Pentagon from being shown on TV?

Was it worth the wounding and suffering of over 55,000 U.S. service personnel?

The respected British organization Lancet estimate that over 1.3 million Iraqis died in the Iraq War. Was U.S. oil acquisition worth this tragic loss of life?

Does anyone think that there will never be any accountability for this colossal catastrophe? Apparently George W. Bush appears un-phased. As bombs were falling on Baghdad in this so-called "shock and awe" attack he was shown on White House video raising his arm, clenching his fist, and exclaiming "Feels good!"

While the war was still raging, Bush donned a flight uniform in San Diego and boarded a helicopter which swiftly transported him to a waiting naval ship. Once he landed on deck, with TV cameras grinding, Bush dramatically declared, "Mission Accomplished!"

Sadly, this was not true. U.S. service personnel remain in Iraq until 2012, and even after that an occupying force of 50,000 U.S. service personnel will stay. The U.S. now has its largest embassy in Iraq's capital city of Baghdad.

Bush is still blithely chasing around like a conquering hero, darting off to Calgary, Canada, giving a lecture at $400 per person for the best seats. All this occurs while Bush protestors are still continuing in marches in cities across the U.S.A. carrying signs proclaiming that Bush is a war criminal.

The New York Times March 19 headline announced: 2007 U.S. BIRTHS BREAK BABY BOOM RECORD.

The headline was expanded in the article that followed by Erik Eckholm:

"More babies were born in the United States than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data by the Center for Health Statistics.

"The 4,317,000 births in 2007 edged out the figure for 1957 at the height of the baby boom. Also, in 2007, for the second straight year, and in a trend officials find worrisome the rate of births by teenagers rose. The growth has mainly been fueled by increases among adult women. Racial and ethnic differences remain large: 28 percent of white babies were born to un-married mothers, in 2007, compared to 51 percent of Hispanic babies and 72 percent of black babies. The U.S.A. has the highest rates of teenage pregnancies, birth and abortion of any industrialized country."

While the U.S. represents only 5 percent of the world's population, it uses 50 percent of the world's illicit drugs. This tragic fact fuels the drug wars raging in major U.S. cities.

The longest war in U.S. history in Iraq goes on and Obama is sending more troops into Afghanistan to step up that campaign.

As if the horrors on the foreign front weren't enough, the fateful prediction by British historian Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay over 100 years ago came true:

"Your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth, with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals who ravage the Roman Empire came from without and your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country, by your own institutions."

According to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Coalition, 3.5 million people in a given year will experience homelessness with 1.5 million of them children. The current national jobless figure stands at over 8 percent and is rising while there are 37 million Americans on food stamps.

In an economic meltdown Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, the nation's biggest banks, have collapsed with a hundred more standing on the edge of the same fate.

It took a $700 billion loan bailout from China to prop up U.S. banks, and another $700 billion stimulus package to salvage what was left of teetering American International Group, which is linked to bank failures worldwide.

No doubt about it. The U.S.A. was number one in producing more children without a father, number one in illicit drug use, and number one in triggering the world economic meltdown.

Perhaps proclaiming that we are the greatest nation in the world in 2009 is inappropriate!

from Democracy Now!
Date: 30 March 2009
Subject: The rise of homelessness in the United States.

As the nation’s economic and housing crisis worsens, homelessness is also on the rise, and an increasing number of people are setting up roving encampments or shanty towns that are popularly known as tent cities. Seattle’s newest tent city is called Nickelsville. The encampment is made up of over 100 fuchsia tents and is named to protest Mayor Greg Nickels’s policies toward the homeless.


A 21st Century Hooverville: Seattle's Homeless Population Builds "Nickelsville," a Tent City Named After the City's Mayor


from The Real News :
Date: 30 March 2009
Subject: The American Oligarchs.

F. Wiliam Engdahl, economist, author, and risk consultant speaks to Paul Jay about Geithner's plan to rescue the financial institutions in the United States. Engdahl says the plan doesn't address the concentration of financial power in the United States, that is based in five major financial institutions. He says his plan is like a "band aid for a bad hemorrhage"

Engdahl: "Obama must confront the oligarchical power of Wall Street to solve crisis."

Geithner's Oligarchs

from GRITtv :
Date: 11 April 2009
Subject: Sexual Politics.


Sexual Politics and the Media, Judith Owen, and Throw Down Your Heart


from Elisabeth Chamorand :
Date: 10 April 2009
Subject: Religion and Justice.

Please forward.

Aucune religion ne prône l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes

par Taslima Nasreen

Taslima Nasreen, réfugiée en France, appelle les forces de gauche, partout dans le monde, à réinvestir les combats laïque et féministe pour élever une digueface aux fondamentalismes. Contrainte de quitter son pays, puis l’Inde où elle avait trouvé refuge, sous la pression des fondamentalistes, l’écrivaine bangladaise Taslima Nasreen, figure du combat contre l’intégrisme, participait, samedi dernier, aux Rencontres laïques internationales -organisées par l'UFAL- à Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis). Entretien réalisé par Dominique Bari et Rosa Moussaoui (L'Humanité).

Votre combat contre le fondamentalisme ne s’arrête pas à l’islamisme. Vous dénoncez également les intégrismes chrétien, juif, hindou. Quels sont leurs points communs ?

Taslima Nasreen. Je m’élève en effet contre les intégrismes de tous bords. En ce qui me concerne, j’ai souffert toute ma vie du fondamentalisme musulman. Je suis née, j’ai grandi dans un pays musulman. Lorsque je critique les fondamentalismes, mais aussi les religions en tant que telles, qu’il s’agisse de l’hindouisme, du christianisme, du judaïsme, du bouddhisme, parce qu’elles oppressent les femmes, personne ne me menace de mort. Mais lorsque je parle de l’islam, alors les fondamentalistes musulmans profèrent des fatwas demandant mon exécution, ma pendaison. Ma tête est mise à prix. C’est ainsi que j’ai été expulsée de mon propre pays, le Bangladesh. Après avoir vécu dix ans en Europe, je suis partie en Inde, à Calcutta. Là encore, j’ai été visée par des fatwas. Mes livres ont été brûlés sur la place publique. Lors de la présentation de l’un de mes livres, j’ai été agressée par des fondamentalistes musulmans à Hyderabad. À Calcutta, ils sont descendus dans la rue pour exiger mon expulsion. En réponse, le gouvernement indien de gauche m’a placée en résidence surveillée à New Delhi, avant de m’expulser. À cause de ces intégristes, je suis aujourd’hui contrainte à un nouvel exil. C’est difficile à vivre. Je suis une écrivaine bangladaise. Je vis douloureusement cet éloignement de mon pays, où je pourrais encourager les femmes à poursuivre leur combat pour le droit à la liberté.

Pourquoi les fondamentalistes font-ils des droits des femmes leur cible privilégiée ?

Taslima Nasreen. Dans leur vision, le pouvoir des hommes se mesure à l’oppression exercée sur les femmes. La religion est la source du fondamentalisme. Or aucune religion ne prône l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes. Toutes sont hostiles aux femmes. Ce sont bien les religions qui encouragent l’oppression des femmes, qui les empêchent de jouir des mêmes droits que les hommes. Elles pérennisent le système patriarcal, incompatible avec la liberté des femmes.

Quel jugement portez-vous sur les confrontations, ces dernières années, en France et en Europe, sur le port de signes religieux à l’école et dans la sphère publique ?

Taslima Nasreen. Je suis très favorable à la loi française qui interdit le port de signes religieux dans l’enceinte des écoles publiques. Il est essentiel, pour une société laïque, de préserver l’école comme espace de liberté de conscience où les signes religieux n’ont pas leur place. Quant au voile, sur lequel se sont focalisés ces débats, il est pour moi un symbole d’oppression. Les femmes devraient refuser le port du voile. Si toutefois elles acceptent de le porter, ce devrait être une affaire privée. Toute société laïque devrait préserver l’école et plus largement la sphère publique de tous les signes religieux.

Les tentatives de reprise en main des sphères publique et politique par le religieux, en Europe, vous surprennent-elles ?

Taslima Nasreen. Cela prouve que cette question ne se pose pas uniquement dans les pays musulmans. Les fondamentalistes progressent aussi en Europe. Pas seulement les intégristes musulmans, mais aussi les intégristes chrétiens. Aux États-Unis, ceux-ci n’hésitent pas à agresser, à menacer de mort les médecins pratiquant l’IVG. Dans la première puissance mondiale, les chrétiens évangéliques se sont infiltrés jusque dans les sphères du pouvoir. En Angleterre, les fondamentalistes musulmans revendiquent la possibilité d’appliquer la charia (la loi islamique - NDLR) aux citoyens de confession musulmane. Des évêques anglicans et des hommes politiques ont indiqué qu’ils n’y étaient pas opposés. Si nous ne mettons pas un frein à cette expansion des fondamentalistes, si nous les laissons agir sans contrôle, si la gauche et les progressistes n’apportent pas leur soutien au combat laïque et humaniste contre toutes les formes d’intégrisme, alors de grands reculs de civilisation deviendront possibles.

Jugez-vous les forces de gauche trop complaisantes vis-à-vis des fondamentalistes ?

Taslima Nasreen. Les citoyens de confession musulmane sont minoritaires en Europe. Dès lors, certains, à gauche, s’interdisent toute critique de la religion musulmane et font même preuve de complaisance envers les dérives fondamentalistes, croyant assurer ainsi la défense de minorités victimes de discriminations. C’est à mon avis une très lourde erreur. Sans la gauche, comment serait-il possible de mener le combat laïque, le combat pour les droits des femmes ?

Laisser la droite se saisir de ces questions et nous soutenir serait mortifère. La droite déteste l’islam et les musulmans. Elle tente d’instrumentaliser les laïques pour conforter ses visées racistes. Mais nos convictions sont de gauche. Nous voulons une transformation progressiste des sociétés. Nous ne pouvons donc pas laisser la droite dévoyer notre combat laïque.

Pensez-vous que la prétendue « guerre contre le terrorisme » conduite ces dernières années par les États-Unis a renforcé les fondamentalistes musulmans en leur offrant des arguments ?

Taslima Nasreen. Les fondamentalistes ne sont jamais à court d’arguments. Lorsque l’URSS existait, leur croisade était dirigée contre les communistes, accusés d’être les ennemis de la religion. Après la chute de l’URSS, ils se sont retournés contre les États-Unis, accusés d’être les ennemis de l’islam.

Les fondamentalistes, quelle que soit leur cible, ne méritent aucune sympathie. Ils doivent être combattus sans relâche, sans considération des raisons qu’ils invoquent pour justifier leur idéologie destructrice. Au fond, les ennemis qu’ils désignent importent peu. Les justifications de leurs visées et de leurs actes, ils les puisent dans la religion elle-même. C’est la religion qui inspire leur intransigeance, c’est au nom de celle-ci qu’ils menacent et tuent ceux qui ne partagent pas leur vision du monde. Ce n’est pas la guerre menée par les États-Unis qui pousse les intégristes à opprimer les femmes. Cette oppression existait déjà auparavant. C’est donc bien la religion qui est en cause comme source du fondamentalisme.

La guerre américaine relève d’un autre débat. On peut la contester, s’y opposer. Mais l’activisme des fondamentalistes serait une réalité même sans les guerres d’Irak et d’Afghanistan. Ils n’ont pas attendu ces guerres pour combattre les droits des femmes, les frapper, les torturer, les flageller, les lapider à mort au nom de l’islam. Dans les pays musulmans, les femmes souffrent depuis très longtemps.

Croyez-vous qu’une négociation avec les talibans puisse rendre la paix possible en Afghanistan ?

Taslima Nasreen. Si c’est possible, pourquoi ne pas essayer ? Mais aucune solution durable n’émergera sans un changement radical du système qui fabrique les talibans. Il faut fermer ces madrasa, qui sont des usines à fondamentalistes, et promouvoir une éducation laïque, scientifique. C’est primordial. Que l’on négocie avec les talibans ou qu’on les traque revient au même, si ce système reste en place. Il faut saisir le problème à la racine. En réalité, je ne rejette pas la responsabilité du chaos afghan sur les talibans.

Lorsque vous envoyez des jeunes garçons dès l’âge de deux ans dans des madrasa (écoles coraniques - NDLR) où ils apprennent le maniement des armes, avec pour seul horizon éducatif la récitation du Coran, les prêches exhortant à l’instauration d’un État islamique ou au meurtre des femmes et des non-musulmans, il n’est pas étonnant qu’ils deviennent des extrémistes. Ces enfants n’ont aucune autre fenêtre sur le monde. Ils n’ont aucune possibilité de bénéficier d’une instruction publique et laïque. Ce n’est donc pas à eux que j’en veux, mais aux promoteurs de ce système qui transforme des innocents en talibans.

Dans le monde musulman, les madrasa poussent comme des champignons, avec la complicité de gouvernements qui veulent s’assurer l’appui électoral des fondamentalistes. Il faut cesser d’abandonner l’éducation des enfants à des imams radicaux qui les endoctrinent. Les États doivent assumer leur mission, en créant des écoles où les enfants entendent parler d’égalité, de démocratie, de liberté d’expression. Si personne ne leur transmet ces valeurs, comment pourraient-ils un jour s’en réclamer ? L’éducation laïque est la seule arme efficace contre les fondamentalismes.

from Ahmed El Aïdi :
Date: 28 March 2009
Subject: Freeman speaks out on his exit [Voltaire].


Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat slated to become the top U.S. intelligence analyst, withdrew from consideration by releasing a statement in which he denounces the Israel Lobby for "character assassination." Here is the text of the statement.

Freeman Speaks Out on His Exit
by Charles W. Freeman


from Mélisa Kidari :
Date: 30 March 2009
Subject: Voici le film "Seul ontre tous".

Professeur Feeley,
A diffuser passionnément si nous voulons nous affranchir de la dictature des labos et de ceux qui les engraissent.

Le film sur "la vie et l'œuvre du Docteur R. G. Hamer"
(2 parties) :


from Claire Roosen :
Date: 30 March 2009
Subject: Un témoignage très fort, très émouvant de ce qu'est l'être humain, par la Docteur Jill Bolte Taylor.

Voici la vidéo sur les 2 hémisphères cérébraux.


La conférence de la neuro-anatomiste Jill Bolte Taylor traduite en français. La vidéo a fait le tour du monde tandis que son livre du même titre My Stroke of Insight (Voyage au-delà de mon cerveau) sort en librairie.

My Stroke of Insight